Troina has very ancient origins. Recent excavations have revealed the presence of anthropic settlements dating back to the prehistoric period. There has been a long debate about the origin of the city and there have been several historians who have tried to clarify the matter. Some have identified Troina with the ancient city of Greek origin Imakera. Most of the ancient and modern scholars, however, agree in identifying Troina with Engyon, site of the pre-Hellenic temple dedicated to the cult of the Mother Goddesses or Meteres. According to Diodorus Siculus, ancient Engyon was built by the Cretans after the death of King Minos. Following the excavations of the previous century, the archaeologist Militello claimed that the town was linked to the events of the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius I; probably in 397 BC, after the defeat of the Carthaginians, Engyon was a military stronghold of Campanian mercenaries for control of the territory.
Different dominations chose Troina as a place to live and from which to control the surrounding area. First of all the Arabs, who conquered the city in the XNUMXth century and established a military garrison there.
In 1061 the Normans, led by Count Ruggero, freed Troina from Saracen rule. According to a legend, the Grand Count, having learned that a miller, accompanied by a dog, whose barking was a sign of recognition and periodically supplied the castle with food, made an agreement with the man, presenting himself in front of the entrance door of the fortification and, upon opening, the Norman army penetrated and conquered it.
Troina with the conquest of the Normans went through the most important historical period of its history. An outpost for the conquest of Sicily, it was the first capital of the kingdom and later the first bishopric of the island after the Muslim domination (1082).
The Normans built churches and convents and gave urban and architectural decoration to the city. Also in Troina, thanks to the support of the local Greek nobility, four Italian-Greek monastic foundations were founded (San Michele, Sant'Elia, San Mercurio and San Basilio).
In 1088 Pope Urban II resided there, who asked for military help from the Normans to overthrow the antipope Callistus III.
Troina was the thirteenth state-owned city of the Sicilian parliament and placed under the direct dependence of the crown. In the Angevin era, the city rebelled due to the application of the Constitutions of Melfi and for this reason it was destroyed by Frederick II of Swabia.
With the arrival of the Aragonese, it was sold by King Frederick III of Aragon to Baron Matteo d'Alagona; however it was redeemed by the inhabitants themselves with the help of Francesco Di Napoli. It was later sold between 1392 and 1394 to Pietro Moncada, but in 1398 King Martino definitively granted the status of royal city. In 1508 Ferdinand II gave it the title of civitas vetustissima.
During the modern age, the life of the city was put to the test by a plague epidemic (1575) and by two earthquakes which caused collapse and devastation (1643 and 1693). In the thirties of the seventeenth century it was sold again by Philip IV to the nobleman Antonio Scribani Genovese to finance the wars against France, but in 1644 it was redeemed by Vincenzo Di Napoli, a distinguished theologian and bishop of Patti.
Troina in the eighteenth century is adorned with villas and noble palaces; thirty churches and twelve monasteries and convents.
Troinese society in the XNUMXth century was characterized by the presence of a large rural reality and by a political-religious elite possessing vast estates.
During the Second World War, from 1 to 6 August 1943, the territory of Troina became a battlefield and saw American soldiers engaged in countering the resistance of a nucleus of Germans perched in the town. The days of the battle, bloody and harmful for the population, were photographed by the famous war photojournalist Robert Capa.
Troina, the south gate of the Nebrodi
Troina stands at 1120 meters above sea level. Immersed in unspoiled nature on the slopes of the Nebrodi Park, with the splendid Lake Ancipa as a backdrop, it has a unique natural heritage. The visitor who, for the first time, is about to discover this territory will be surprised by the richness of an intense landscape different from the stereotype of an arid Sicily.
Largely wooded, the state property falls in the heart of the Nebrodi and extends for 4200 hectares. The territory is divided into six zones: Ranieri, Bussonita, Sambuchello, Cicogna, Bracallà and Finocchio with an altitude ranging from 600 meters to 1556 meters above sea level
The vegetation is rich and varied: we find strips of beech and Turkey oak forest, strips of oak, maple, ash, holm oak and downy oak. In the locality of Bussonita it is possible to admire the extremely rare yew baccato. Even the undergrowth is conspicuous in species; among the different varieties we find the Daphne laureola, the hawthorn, the dog rose, the holly, the butcher's broom and others. The wildlife is very rich.
This immense forest heritage is the legacy of Count Ruggero and his successors, who donated it to the city. The state property is currently managed by the Special Forestry-Pastoral Company.
In the northern part of the Troina area, about 8 km from the town, is the Ancipa Dam, an artificial basin built in the 50s. With a maximum height of 105 metres, it is the highest reservoir in Sicily and has a collection capacity of approximately 30 million cubic meters of water. Nestled between the sandstone spikes of Rocca Mannia and Rocca di Ancipa, the dam is surrounded by a varied plant landscape and offers hospitality to various fauna species. Along the way it is possible to admire the ruins of ancient agro-pastoral buildings (the metati).
The entire area around the lake is part of the Nebrodi Park and is one of the sites of community importance.